Bankruptcy Deadlines and Timeline
Timeline of a Case
Important Pre-Filing Deadlines Within Ten Years before FilingResidence or Homestead Real Estate and Burial Plots
During the ten years before filing for bankruptcy, if you transfer any property in order to purchase any of the above listed types of property with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud a creditor, the value of that purchased property, for purposes of determining how much of it you can protect in bankruptcy, will be reduced by the amount of the value of the other property that was initially transferred.Self-Settled Trust or Similar Device
If you make a transfer with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud anyone, a bankruptcy trustee can “avoid” any transfer of property that you make to yourself under a “self-settled” trust or similar device where you are the beneficiary.
Within Eight Years before Filing a Chapter 7Prior Discharge in a Chapter 7
More than eight years must have passed between the filing date of a prior chapter 7 case in which you received a discharge and the filing of a subsequent chapter 7 case.
Within Six Years before Filing a Chapter 7Prior Discharge in a Chapter 13
More than six years must have passed between the filing date of a prior chapter 13 case in which you received a discharge and the filing of a new Chapter 7 case. This restriction does not apply if unsecured creditors received 100 percent of their debt in your prior chapter 13 discharge, OR they received 70 percent of their debts AND we prove to the court that the prior chapter 13 plan was proposed in good faith and with your best effort.
Within Five years before FilingCriminal, Intentional, Willful, or Reckless Conduct
If you owe money from a criminal act, intentional tort, or willful or reckless misconduct that caused serious injury or death in the preceding five years, you cannot exempt more than a certain amount (updated every three years) in a residence, homestead or burial plot. You can never exempt more than that amount for any debts related to a violation of the RICO act or SEC law, or if you are convicted of a felony that demonstrates that your bankruptcy filing was an “abuse.”
Within Four Years of any FilingFraudulent Conversion
Florida law considers it to be a fraudulent conversion when any assets or property are converted from non-exempt to exempt with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud a creditor. A creditor can initiate a legal action to reverse or stop a further conversion within four years of the date of the conversion.
Within Four Years before Filing a Chapter 13Prior Discharge in a Chapter 7
More than four years must have transpired since your prior filing of a prior chapter 7 case that resulted in a discharge before you can file under chapter 13.
Within 1,215 Days before Filing (@ 3.3 years)Homestead
Your homestead exemption is limited to a set amount (regularly adjusted for inflation) if you acquired a homestead within 1,215 days before filing for bankruptcy, except to the extent that the money used to purchase the new home came from the sale of a previous home in the same state. Florida law provides an unlimited exemption for a homestead purchased more than 1,215 days before filing for bankruptcy.
Within 730 Days before FilingApplicable Law
Your place of domicile during the 730 days before you file for bankruptcy determines which state’s law will govern the exemptions that are available to you. If you were not domiciled in a single state for that entire time, then the exemptions are based on the law of the state where you were domiciled during the 180 days before that 730 days or the place where you were domiciled for longer than any other place during that 180 days.
Within Two Years of any FilingFraudulent Transfer
The Bankruptcy Code allows the trustee to “avoid” any transfer of an interest in property or obligation made or incurred within two years from the date of filing if the transfer was made or the obligation was incurred with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud any entity. If you received less than the reasonably equivalent value in exchange for these transfers, they can also be “avoided” in most circumstances.
Within Two Years before Filing in Chapter 13Prior Discharge in a Chapter 13
In order to obtain a discharge in a second chapter 13 case, two years must have passed between the filing date of the prior chapter 13 which resulted in a discharge, and the filing date of the new chapter 13 case.
Within One Year before FilingAny Property
You are barred from receiving a discharge in a chapter 7 case if you transferred, removed, destroyed, mutilated, or concealed any property with the intent to hinder, delay or defraud within one year prior to filing, or at any time after the filing.Preferential Transfer to “Insider”
You cannot transfer money or property worth $600 or more to an “insider”, while you are insolvent, if the transfer results in that “insider” creditor collecting more than it would have under chapter 7. Such a transfer can be “avoided” or reversed as a “preferential transfer.”
Within 180 Days before FilingCredit Counseling
You are required to complete credit counseling briefing. Exceptions to this requirement include a waiver for incapacity or active military duty in a combat zone. You can seek deferral for exigent circumstances, but you still need to finish the course within 30 days after the bankruptcy petition is filed.Prior Dismissals
You are barred from filing a petition for bankruptcy if within 180 days before filing you 1) voluntarily dismissed a prior case following a creditor’s request for relief from the automatic stay, or 2) had a prior case dismissed as a result of your willful failure to abide by a court order or appear before the court.
Within Ninety Days before FilingAll other Preferential Transfers
You are barred from transferring money or property worth $600 or more to a creditor, while you are insolvent, on a debt such that the creditor would be able to collect more than it could under Chapter 7 liquidation. This sort of “preferential transfer” can be “avoided” or reversed.Luxury Goods or Services
There is a presumption that a debt owed to a single creditor for more than $725 worth of luxury goods or services is not able to be discharged when it was obtained within ninety days before filing.
Within Seventy Days before FilingCash Advances
There is a presumption that any debt resulting from cash advances totaling more than $1,000 obtained from open-ended credit on or within seventy days before filing for bankruptcy is not able to be discharged.
Bankruptcy Filed – Commencement of CasePetition Filed
Filing a petition with the Bankruptcy Court commences a voluntary bankruptcy process. Husbands and wives are allowed to file a single petition together in order to start a joint case.Filing Fee Due
The filing fee in both chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy cases must accompany the petition that initiates the case. There is an exception where the debtor has been granted an application to make installment payments on the fee or the fee has been waived for someone earning less than 150 percent of the poverty level. The current filing fee for a chapter 7 case is $338, and it is $313 for a chapter 13 case.List of Creditors Must Be Filed
The petition in both a chapter 7 and a chapter 13 case must be accompanied by a list of the names and addresses of your creditors, also known as the “creditor matrix.”Statement of Social Security Number Must Be Filed
The petition must contain a verified statement that identifies your Social Security number in both chapter 7 and chapter 13 cases.
Paystubs Must Be Filed
Copies of all payment advices or other evidence of payment, if any, received by you from an employer within 60 days before the filing of the petition, with redaction of all but the last four digits of the your social-security number or individual taxpayer-identification number, must be filed.Automatic Stay in Effect
An automatic stay prevents executions of judgments on existing lawsuits and stops foreclosures and collection efforts until the bankruptcy case closes or is dismissed. The stay can also be removed for actions pertaining to certain property, including property that is no longer deemed to be part of the “estate.” In situations where a prior case was dismissed within the past year, the stay will last only 30 days unless the debtor moves for an extension and can show good faith. There is no automatic stay in situations where two cases were dismissed during the past year. The debtor must then move for a stay within 30 days of filing and show good faith.
Fourteen Days after Bankruptcy FiledSchedules Must Be Filed
Schedules of assets and liabilities, a schedule of current income and expenditures, a schedule of executory contracts and unexpired leases and a statement of financial affairs must be filed within fourteen days after filing the bankruptcy case. This applies in both chapter 7 and 13 cases.Chapter 13: Plan Must Be Filed
Chapter 13 cases also require that the plan must be filed with the petition or within fourteen days after the bankruptcy matter was filed. The plan provides for the submission of future income and how creditors will be treated, setting out when and how much each type of creditor will collect.
About Five to Ten Days after Bankruptcy FiledCourt Mails Notice of Commencement of Case
The court will mail a notice of commencement of case to the debtor and to the creditors contained on the list of creditors/creditor matrix. This happens about 5-10 days after the bankruptcy case is filed. Information about the § 341 meeting date and the deadline for objections to discharge and for filing proof of claims is contained in the notice.
Within Thirty Days after Bankruptcy Filed
Chapter 7: Statement of Intent
In chapter 7 cases, you must file a statement of intent within 30 days after filing a bankruptcy petition or on or before the date of the §341 meeting, whichever comes first. The statement indicates whether you intend to 1) retain the asset or lease and continue making payments, or 2) surrender the property. If you retain, you must also specify if the property is claimed as exempt, if you intent to redeem it, or reaffirm the debts secured by it. This deadline can be extended by the court. A copy of the statement must be served on the trustee and the creditors that are named on it.Chapter 13: Plan Payment Due
You must start making plan payments within 30 days after the bankruptcy is filed in a Chapter 13 case.Adequate Protection Payments
You must make adequate protection payments by paying on your residential lease and on any other allowed claims secured by personal property within 30 days of a plan or a claim for relief.
About Twenty-One to Sixty Days after Bankruptcy Filed – Creditor’s MeetingFourteen Days before § 341 Meeting
If a creditor, at least fourteen days before the first date set for the § 341 meeting, requests your tax return, then you must provide a copy of it, or a statement that it does not exist, at least seven days before the first date set for the § 341 meeting.Seven Days before § 341 Meeting
Provide Copies of Tax Returns
Within seven days before the first date set for the first meeting of creditors, you are required to provide a copy of 1) your most recent federal income tax return, 2) your tax transcripts, or 3) a statement that there are no such documents for the year ending immediately prior to the commencement of the case. This information must go to the trustee and to all of the creditors that have requested it. You must also provide the trustee with any pay stubs and additional requested documents.One Day before the § 341 Meeting
Tax Returns for Prior Four Years
You must file all tax returns that need to be filed for the prior four years at least one day before the § 341 meeting.§ 341 Meeting (Creditor’s Meeting) is Held
The trustee is required to preside at a meeting of the creditors within a “reasonable time” after bankruptcy has been filed, according to § 341 of the Bankruptcy Code. This meeting can take place between 21 and 50 days after the filing of the petition. The court will mail a notice of commencement of case, which will include the meeting time and date. Although each debtor is required to attend the meeting and testify under oath, most creditors do not attend. A creditor’s absence from the meeting does not affect its right to challenge the discharge in a chapter 7 case or to object to the plan in a chapter 13 case. However, the court will dismiss your case if you fail to attend the meeting.Sixty Days after Bankruptcy is Filed
Proof of Insurance
Within sixty days for filing for bankruptcy, you must provide proof of maintaining insurance on leased personal property.Within Twenty to Forty-Five Days after § 341 Meeting
Chapter 13 Confirmation Hearing
The Chapter 13 confirmation hearing will be held within twenty to forty-five days after the § 341 meeting.
Within Thirty Days after § 341 MeetingDeadline to File Objection to Claim of Exemption
If either the trustee or any other party of interest objects to your exempt property claims, they are required to file their objection within thirty days after the § 341 meeting.Chapter 7: Debtor Must Perform Under the Statement of Intention
In a chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding, you must perform under the statement of intention by either 1) keeping the asset and continuing to pay on it, 2) reaffirming the debt and continuing to make payments, 3) claiming the asset as exempt, 4) paying the replacement value of the property to redeem it, or 5) surrendering the collateral. You are allowed to later cancel or rescind a reaffirmation agreement before the discharge or within 60 days after the date the agreement was filed in court, whichever is later, by giving notice to the creditor.
Sixty Days after First Date Set for § 341 MeetingFinancial Management Course
You must complete a financial management course within sixty days after the first date set for the § 341 meeting in a chapter 7 bankruptcy case.Deadline for Objection to Discharge of a Particular Debt in Chapter 7
Up until sixty days after the first date set for § 341 meeting, creditors can file a complaint to object to the discharge of debts that were obtained by false pretenses, false representation, or actual fraud; debt from fraud or defalcation while acting in a fiduciary capacity, embezzlement or larceny; and debt for willful and malicious injury. This deadline applies to objections to discharge of consumer debts owed to a single creditor and aggregating more than $725 for luxury goods or services incurred by an individual debtor on or within ninety days before a chapter 7 bankruptcy; and cash advances of more than $1,000 in the seventy days preceding filing. Both of these debts are presumed to be non-dischargeable.Deadline for Objection to Discharge of All Debt in Chapter 7
Until sixty days after the first date set for a § 341, creditors can file a complaint to object to the discharge of all debts because of misconduct, including transfer, destruction or concealment of property; concealment, destruction or falsification or failure to keep financial records; making false statements; withholding information; failing to explain losses; failing to respond to material questions; and having received a discharge in a prior case filed within the applicable time periods.Deadline for U.S. Trustee or Court to Move to Dismiss Case for “Substantial Abuse” in Chapter 7
The U.S. trustee or the court has until sixty days after the first date set for the § 341 meeting to move to dismiss a case where debts are primarily consumer debts if it finds that the granting of relief would be a “substantial abuse” of chapter 7’s provisions. The Bankruptcy Reform Act expanded “substantial abuse” to include a means test that allows you to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy only if your income is below the median income in your state of residence, or you have net income that is less than the lesser of 25 percent of your non-priority unsecured debt or $8,175, whichever is greater, or $13,650.
More Than Sixty Days after § 341 MeetingDischarge Entered in Chapter 7 case
A discharge must be entered “forthwith” after the expiration of the period for objecting to discharge or moving to dismiss the case, according to court rules. Objections must be made within sixty days after the first date set for a creditor’s meeting. However, the discharge is not absolute and final, because the trustee can seek to have the discharge set aside in situations where the debtor fails to turn over non-exempt property, where the debtor fails to take other required actions or where there were other pending matters that would result in the denial of the discharge. A motion objecting to a discharge must provide twenty-eight days’ notice to the trustee and all creditors before a hearing. You should receive notice that your case is closed within another thirty to forty-five days after discharge.
Ninety Days after § 341 MeetingDeadline for Non-Government Creditors to File Their Proofs of Claim
Within ninety days after the first date set for a § 341 meeting, all creditors except for governmental units must file their proof of claim. You can file a claim on behalf of a creditor thirty days later if you want them included in the bankruptcy. You should make objections to claims before any funds are distributed, even though there are no deadlines for you to object.
120 Days after Bankruptcy FiledFinal Payment on Filing Fees Due
You must make your final payment within 120 days after filing for bankruptcy if the court allowed you to pay your filing fees in installments for a chapter 7 or 13 case.
180 Days after Bankruptcy FiledDeadline for Governmental Unit to File Proof of Claim
Within 180 days after a case has commenced, a governmental unit such as the Internal Revenue Service must file its proof of claim in order to receive payments from the estate.
Certain Property Acquired after Filing for Bankruptcy
Should you receive property: 1) by bequest, devise, or inheritance; 2) as a result of a property settlement agreement with the your spouse, or of an interlocutory or final divorce decree; or 3) as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy or of a death benefit plan prior to filing or within 180 days of filing, that property is part of the “estate” and must either be exempt or be subject to liquidation.One Year after Bankruptcy Filed or Ninety Days after End of Tax Year, Whichever is Later, and Annually Thereafter
Annual Statements Due
Annual statements are due one year after the bankruptcy is filed or ninety days after the end of the tax year, whichever is later, in chapter 13 cases. They must also be filed at least forty-five days before the anniversary of the plan every year thereafter.
- One Year after Bankruptcy
Order to Revoke Discharge in Certain Circumstance
Within one year of a discharge in a chapter 7 case, on request of the trustee, a creditor, or the United States trustee, and after notice and a hearing, the court shall revoke your discharge if 1) it was obtained through your fraud, and the requesting party did not know of the fraud until after discharge was entered; 2) you acquired property that is property of the estate, or became entitled to acquire property that would be property of the estate, and knowingly and fraudulently failed to report the acquisition of or entitlement to such property, or to deliver or surrender such property to the trustee; 3) a) you failed to obey any lawful order of the court, other than an order to respond to a material question or to testify; b) on the ground of privilege against self-incrimination, failed to respond to a material question approved by the court or to testify, after being granted immunity with respect to the matter concerning which such privilege was invoked; or c) on a ground other than the properly invoked privilege against self-incrimination, you failed to respond to a material question approved by the court or to testify; or 4) you failed to a) satisfactorily explain material misstatement in an audit or b) make available for inspection all necessary accounts, papers, documents, financial records, files, and all other papers, things, or property belonging to you that are requested for an audit.
Three to Five Years after First Plan PaymentLength of Payments Under Chapter 13 Plan
Plan payments must continue for at least the three-year period beginning on the date the first payment is due under the plan, up to the maximum of a five-year period, unless all allowed claims are paid sooner. If your and your spouse’s combined annual income is less than Florida’s medium income, a chapter 13 plan will last three years or less. The time period is five years if your income is equal to or greater than the state’s median income.Financial Management Course
You must complete an approved financial management course before the date of the last payment or by the date of filing for hardship discharge in chapter 13 cases. The chapter 13 trustee is allowed to offer the course.Discharge Entered in Chapter 13
You can seek a discharge of the remaining unsecured debts within twenty-eight days’ notice as soon as is practicable after the completion of all payments under the plan. You should receive notice that your case is closed within thirty to forty-five days thereafter.
If you or anyone you know is considering filing for bankruptcy and obtaining a fresh start from debt and financial challenges, call our Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood bankruptcy lawyers today at (754) 400-5150 or contact us online. Let the Law Offices of Evan M. Rosen serve you!